College Basketball 2014 March Madness – Sweet 16 Friday Action Preview

march-madness-2014Just to update everybody at the start of this preview, we’re going to compress things a little going forward. Yesterday’s Sweet 16 preview and today’s continuation will be the last individual days of the tournament – for example the Elite 8 match-ups will be consolidated into one post. With that bit of business out of the way let’s congratulate Dayton on continuing their improbable run with an 82-72 win over Stanford. You might think that the victorious Florida Gators will be the ones to end their Cinderella story, but that’s a preview for another day. Props also to go out to Wisconsin, who put the hammer down 69-52 in the West. That leaves at least one region where a 1 and a 2 seed are playing each other, which to many busted bracket holders will come with a sigh of relief. We move now to Friday’s action and four more games on tap to winnow the field down to the country’s eight best teams. Since Dayton is the story of the South, we might as well start with Tennessee as the story of the Midwest. There may have been a time that two 11 seeds made it to the Elite 8, but I can’t honestly remember win. Standing in their way is traditional college basketball powerhouse Michigan, another team that seems to have actually benefited from losing in their conference championship. Since that time they’ve rolled with double digit wins over Wofford and Texas, and they have one other thing going for them against Tennessee – they only played 2 games to get here while the Volunteers have played 3. None of today’s money lines are lopsided though – Michigan owns the edge at -140 to +120. Everybody in this set of games has a fair chance to advance. If senior Jordan McRae finds the form he showed against Iowa and UMass, then the Vols will create more 11 seed March Madness magic. Iowa State is a slim -125 favorite over UConn at +105. Despite losing one of their team leaders in sophomore George Niang to a broken foot, ISU overcame adversity and the hard driving Tar Heels to edge out an 85-83 win. Beating higher ranked teams is something the Cyclones have done time and again all year long, and when they’re firing on all cylinders they might be the best team in the country. They need to shut down senior Shabazz Napier to advance though – rest assured these Huskies are not going to roll over and play dead. Out of all of the tournament action today this one is my coin flip bet that’s just too close to call either way. I like 4 seed Michigan State in the East regional semifinal against 1 seed Virginia. The book has them as a -130 to +110 and I agree – this is after all the same team that knocked off the aforementioned Michigan in the Big Ten conference finals. I also like last year’s national champions in the Midwest region – the 4 seed Louisville Cardinals playing the 8 seed Kentucky Wildcats. In fact it’s the best money line of the day for a favorite – 200 to +170. If they get the upset then you can truly say without even trying to be funny that they’re sitting in the catbird’s seat. If you can knock off last year’s champ, how hard would it be to either beat Tennessee or Michigan at that point? Please remember that all previews are for entertainment purposes and to wager responsibly.

Written by Stevie J

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